Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cerulean Sins--chapter 13--

I love painting. Specifically, I love how little my intentions have to do with what actually happens to the "canvas". Right now I am doing Adry's shoulder armor, hands, and boobs. Here is progress picture:

And I would love to say that I planned this, I planned the dynamic the cover will have, that I did this all on purpose and that all of that shading up there is 100% intentional. I would love to say that, but I can't. Most of what I do is looking at it and going "HEY THAT LINE OF BLUISH STUFF RUNS EXACTLY WHERE A SHADOW NEEDS TO BE AND IT HAPPENS TO BE THE RIGHT COLOR SO I AM GOING TO LEAVE IT ALONE NOW. The most I had to work with doing this cover was that Adry had to be on it. Because *takes deep breath and parks all progressive thought for a minute* chicks sell books better than guys do. Cover art is all about selling the book, and Bob hasn't exactly moved his episode of this opera very far. Bryan is weird. He wouldn't cut it on his own. So Adry had to be there. (Yeah. Balancing idealism with the need to make money: Something progressive thinkers just don't want to talk about.) And somehow something that sums up everything this book is about has risen to the surface.

It's part of why I can't do commissions. I can't do what other people ask me to do, and I don't mean that in a special snowflake kind of way. I mean that in a "OH MY GOD THERE IS SO MUCH MONEY IN AUTHOR SERVICES AND I COULD MAKE SO MUCH IF I DID BOOK COVERS FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT ME WHY CAN I NOT DO THIS THERE IS MONEY HERE" kind of way. I have done a grand total of three book covers. NONE of them are in my gallery, none of them are in my portfolio. I hate them. I hate everything about them. I wish they would go die. Oh, the customers were happy enough. (One of them even paid me!) But each time I finished up, sent the stuff off, and thought "Thank GOD that's over." My least favorite job was actually the one I got paid for, because I knew every fucking second that it was a horrible cover, it didn't tell the reader anything about the story, but the author wanted it done exactly that way, she wouldn't let me read the actual book itself (loyal author-readers? If you self publish and you have to hire an artist, let the artist read your fucking book. Or at minimum, give them the scene you want on the cover to read.).

I also can't thumbnail or sketch for shit. Which is a highly underrated skill. Not having to explain what the blobby bits of paint will eventually be is a huge plus.

Ah, well.

Also: Awesome person who bought the entire Exiles series in one go today: you are a wonderful, wonderful human being and I hope you live strong forever. Seriously. It makes my day whenever somebody buys my books.

Right. Sucky book.

Look, I am the wrong person to review sex scenes, okay? I hate them. There have been a few that I've found interesting, I like well written sexual tension (See Paladin of Souls) and under the right circumstances, I like a well done scene. But the main thing that gets me going in a story is good rhythem. Sex scenes always, always, ALWAYS stop plot progression cold. They are a word-sink. They are padding. They are two characters sitting in the same place doing the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over AND OVER until the author decides their word count is big enough and finally lets somebody come. And when I read, loyal blog readers, I am reading for plot. I want brief with curtain waves because the author left me with a king in peril and a kingdom at risk and I'd rather know how the princess gets rescued than I would know where the wizard's dick went.

Chapter 13 opens with rushed sex. They only have a couple hours before Jean Claude and Asher "die" for the day. And so we move right past Anita giving Asher oral sex and dive straight into a request for double penetration.

...can I go back to talking about art and why I can't make money on commissions? That was so much less scarring.

 And then we get random french from Jean Claude as he warns Asher off:

Jean-Claude’s voice came as if from a great distance, “Non, mon chardonneret, we have done no preparation. She has never had it done before.”

"It" being penetrated anally. So basically Jean Claude gets to actually have sex with Anita, while Asher has to make due with dry humping.

Isn't he the dude Anita is trying to save? What happened to that plan?

Eventually Anita demands Asher be inside her somehow, so he bites her neck. And you know how Master level vampires have powers? Jean Claude has his Animal to Call (That phrase will haunt your dreams if we go much deeper into this series) and the ardeur, other vamps can do...uh...other things. Asher's bite is literally orgasmic.

And then we hit something that breaks my heart:

I rode that pleasure over and over and over until I screamed out, wordless, soundless, skinless, boneless, I was nothing, but the warm spilling pleasure. There was nothing else.

IF this were attached to a sex scene that was actually sexy, and IF the author had taken ten fucking minutes to clean up the wording and punctuation, that little bit right there would have been really, really good. It's that rolling repetition, the bolded part. That is a good bit of writing. That's the bit you frame with everything else. And instead of taking a few minutes to rescue that gem, LKH shit all over it. Did she punctuate this with her eyes closed?

 So everybody comes, and then naturally the sun rises and Jean Claude and Asher "die" with Anita trapped between them. Because traumatizing the fuck out of our protagonist is the word of the day. And I really have to say it:

I was pressed between the frantic pulse and warmth of their bodies, the fluids not even cooled on our skin,

LKH needs to stop writing about bodily fluids in her sex scenes. Yes. They are there. But the post-sex clean up? That is not sexy. That is the part you curtain wave and pretend like it doesn't exist, unless you are far more fucked up than I want to know about.

Also? Anita is now dizzy from blood loss.

This will be a major plot point.

The chapter ends with our brave heroine screaming her head off because she can't get the dead men to roll off.

Yeah. Anita, baby? Piss Poor Planning on your part does not equal an emergency on mine.  You might want to have that put onto a coffee cup.

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